Washington Nationals: Grading Michael Taylor’s 2016 Season
By Ricky Keeler
It was a disappointing season for Michael Taylor as the outfielder struggled to find success for the Washington Nationals
As a team, the Washington Nationals did have success in 2016. However, one player who struggled mightily this past season was outfielder Michael Taylor. Taylor went into the season as the fourth outfielder, but got a chance to start after Ben Revere hurt his oblique in the season opener. But, Taylor did not take advantage of that opportunity.
In 76 games this past season, Taylor had a slash line of .231/.278/.376 with seven home runs and 16 RBI’s. He did have 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts, which was two steals off of his 2015 total (16 stolen bases). But, the 25-year-old did play at triple-A Syracuse part of the season to get some regular playing time.
During the first month of the season, Taylor struggled to find a rhythm. He hit a mere .183 with three home runs and four RBI’s. His 28 strikeouts were the fifth most of any player in the National League that month.
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Dusty Baker tried to use him as the leadoff hitter during April, but Taylor could not find much success because of the high strikeout totals. As a leadoff hitter, Taylor did have three home runs, but he hit .194 with 27 strikeouts in 72 at-bats.
Taylor’s best month of the season came in June. While he only had 58 at-bats, he hit .310 with two home runs and six RBI’s. Both home runs came on June 19 against the San Diego Padres. But, three days later, Taylor went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts and made the error in center field that cost the Nats a win against the Dodgers.
On July 4, the Washington Nationals sent Taylor down to triple-A Syracuse when Jonathan Papelbon came off the disabled list. Even in regular at-bats, Taylor still struggled as he hit .205 in 31 games at Syracuse with one home run and nine RBI’s.
When Taylor came back up to the Nats when the rosters expanded in September, he didn’t get regular at-bats. If you include his three at-bats in the postseason, Taylor only had 23 AB’s after August 1. He was the only Washington Nationals player this season to steal a base as a pinch runner.
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All in all, 2016 was a tough season for Taylor, to say the least. Heading into next season, even if the Nats don’t bring back Ben Revere, they will probably look to add another outfielder. Taylor may be one of those players that needs a change of a scenery.